EU Imposes Sanctions on Belarus, Demands ‘Peaceful Transition of Power’
Aug. 19, 2020 (EIRNS)—Following an emergency EU Council meeting today, EU Council President Charles Michel insisted that the Aug. 9 Belarus elections were “fraudulent,” and proclaimed that the EU would impose sanctions on “a substantial number” of Belarusian officials who committed “shocking and unacceptable” acts against anti-government protesters, RT reports.
Would-be Führerin of all Europe, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen insisted there was “unanimous” support for sanctions, which would be imposed, she vowed, without “hurting the people of Belarus.” She also said that the EU would support the “peaceful transition of power” in the country, and was allocating €53 million to “support civil society” as well as the COVID-19 response, but with no funds going to the government, according to Euronews. “The people of Belarus want change and they want it now,” she said. “They want democracy and new presidential elections, as these elections were neither free nor fair.”
Urging Europe not to recognize election results in which 80% of the vote—in 84% voter turnout—went to President Aleksandr Lukashenko, opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya demanded that new elections be carried out under “international supervision.”
In a joint statement, the presidents of the “Visegrad Four,” all EU members—Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia—called on Belarus authorities to “open the way for a political solution, and to abide by the fundamental human rights and freedoms while refraining from the use of violence against the peaceful demonstrators.” In what AFP argued was a reference to Russia, they urged unnamed “foreign actors to refrain from actions that would undermine Belarus’s independence and sovereignty.”
Russian daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports today that Belarus protests are dwindling as the public loses faith in the opposition. Yesterday, protests in Minsk drew fewer crowds and strikes at the country’s major enterprises have weakened. Experts interviewed by Nezavisimaya Gazeta, said that the demonstrations gained momentum because of police brutality, but the opposition itself has failed to offer any tangible changes, undercutting popular support for it.